Causes of death patterns and people's use of aged care

Nearly 245,000 older people (Indigenous Australians aged 50 and over, and non-Indigenous Australians aged 65 and over) died between July 2012 and June 2014. This report presents information on the cause of death patterns, and any aged care services they used before their death. This is the first time this analysis has been done in Australia.

The leading causes of death for these older Australians were Coronary heart disease (14% of deaths), Dementia (9%), Cerebrovascular disease (stroke) (8%), Lung cancer (5%), Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (5%) and Diabetes (3%).

These 6 conditions also account for more than 40% of the total burden of disease for older Australians.

4 in 5 (80%) of people in the study cohort had used an aged care program sometime before their death. Cause of death patterns differed somewhat between this group and people who had not used any aged care.

Coronary heart disease (14%) was the leading underlying cause of death for people who had used aged care, followed by Dementia (11%). For people who had not used aged care, Coronary heart disease was also the leading underlying cause of death (16%), but this was followed by Lung cancer (9%). Cancer-related causes were more common among those who had not used any aged care.

Causes of death patterns and people's use of aged care.

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